Pandemonium broke out in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on Thursday when operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARs) shot two Hausa traders at the popular Olomore market.
According to an eye witness, eight SARs officers, suspected to be from the Lafenwa Divisional Police Headquarters stormed the popular market in an unmarked Siena Toyota vehicle when the pepper and tomatoes traders were offloading their goods.
The officers accosted the two victims, Musa Adamu and Awwal dragged them on the ground and shot them before leaving the scene.
While Adamu was shot in the head and left critically injured, Awwal was shot twice in the leg.
Angered by the police’s action, hundreds of people, comprising Hausa and Yoruba traders took to the Bewery-Olomore-Ita Oshin axis of the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway, blocking the road with planks and made burn-fire.
The angry protesters chased SARs officers who first responded to the situation, with sticks and other objects forcing the officers to run for their dear lives.
The victims were rushed to a nearby private hospital, Bisted Hospital but were referred to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC).
Vehicular and pedestrian movement was grounded and hundreds of people were left stranded for over three hours that the protest lasted.
The Chairman of the pepper and tomatoes sellers association, Alhaji Ishaku Nuya who spoke to journalists, demanded justice for his colleagues, saying the perpetrators of the act must be fished out and face the full wrath of the law.
He said the only way the traders would be pacified was if the officers who shot the traders are brought to justice to serve as deterrent for other trigger-happy police officers.
It took the joint efforts of men of the State Police Command and officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) over one hour before the protesters were pacified.
The appeal of the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Criminal Investigation Department (CID), DC Abass who led his men to the scene to pacify the protesters that the perpetrators would be brought to justice felt on deaf ears as the protestors kept on shouting, “No more SARs”.
The police boss said, “We respect the agitations of the protesters, if we do not respect them, we won’t be here, if we do not respect them, we would have use teargas to disperse them.
“The issue has gone beyond using force on them, we don’t want to escalate it any further that is why we are engaging them in dialogue. We are pacifying them. They are already bothered.”
“What they (protesters) need from us is the assurance that justice will be done. Once we are able to convince them that justice will be done, we will get a very good result,” Abass said.
The Command’s Spokesman, Abimbola Oyeyemi while reacting to the incident, said the Commissioner of Police, Kenneth Ebrimson has ordered a full scale investigation into the case, adding that “the officer who fired the shot have been ordered to be arrested and he is currently undergoing interrogation at the State Criminal Investigation Department.”